Fort Collins has an amazing amount of things to see and do. No business, however, had offered a service as fun and forward thinking as Magic Bus Tours to create a unique and educational experience around the local activities.
“When I first started visiting Fort Collins, I loved learning about the local history, lifestyles and culture, but I couldn’t find another bus-tour service in town,” said Michael Murphy, founder and visionary behind Magic Bus Tours. “After moving to Fort Collins in 2011, my goal was to create a multimedia tour company to bring the tour to life while educating people about Fort Collins.”
His vision became a tour company with a 21-seat tour bus painted with whimsical artwork that exemplifies the culture, history, landmarks and environment of Fort Collins. Each tour features multimedia with audio, photos and video to bring a multidimensional perspective to the journey. Currently Magic Bus Tours offers a Fort Collins History Tour with a craft brew tour being added in May, a farm-to-table tour in June, and a ghost bus tour scheduled to start in September.
Murphy started the process to establish the business in May 2012, but knew it would be a big project and wanted to start it right. He turned to the Larimer County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Fort Collins for guidance and discovered a whole lot more.
“The SBDC was an incredible resource and gave me an incredible head start,” said Murphy. “They provided education in accounting, marketing and human resources to help me get past the learning curve and start my business off on the right foot.”
In addition to education, the SBDC also provided Murphy with assistance in choosing the best form of legal entity, how to collect sales revenue, and how to successfully yet cost effectively promote the business.
“I was grateful the SBDC could provide people in the know to improve my success because there were surprising hurdles along the way, such as overcoming regulatory requirements,” said Murphy.
Overall Murphy enjoys knowing that he wakes up each day doing something he loves and making his dream a reality.
“Although it took an insane amount of time to get the ball rolling, it feels good to see this living thing take shape,” said Murphy.
As Magic Bus Tours grows, the business will continue to be local and promote local. Long-term plans for the company include creating field trips for the Poudre School District and establishing a Fort Collins Story Project, a library of local oral history designed to capture stories about Northern Colorado that have shaped people’s lives.
“My advice to others who want to start their own business is to do your homework and connect with the SBDC office,” said Murphy. “They help establish a strong foundation for your business to help ensure it will succeed.”
Magic Bus Tours offers excursions year round with the greatest number of tours offered during the summer months. Many of the tours depart from the Sports Authority parking lot on College Avenue. Private tours can also be arranged by contacting Magic Bus Tours. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit www.themagicbustours.com.